Guinea pigs are cute and cuddly and you’ve decided to either buy them to breed, or you have a pair already. Breeding may not be hard, but you can run into a few complications, so you need to know what you’re doing; there can be tragic complications for your sow if you don’t.
It is best to make sure before you start that you will be able to find good homes for the offspring, or have a segregated set up of cages if you are going to keep them yourself.
A sow is ready to breed from the age of four weeks, and a boar from three weeks on. Make sure your guinea pigs are healthy, otherwise you will have disastrous results with the offspring. The gestation period is 59-73 days and the sow can get pregnant again, in just two to fifteen hours after giving birth. She can have a litter of up to seven pups. Make sure she is younger than ten months old when she breeds as her pubic bones will then fuse together making it impossible for her to give birth normally.
You may need a few cages so you can separate off your sows from your boars. Guinea pigs are social creatures, so like to live together. The bigger the better for the cages, but as that’s just an ideal you could make a cage, or buy a cage 7.5 square feet for a single pig, and 10 square feet for a pair. Steer clear of wire flooring. You may like to let your pigs loose outside for some exercise and a clear run. You can lay down newspaper with hay on the top for bedding, and provide a nesting box. Provide toys for activities as well as the obligatory water and food bowls.
Why You Shouldn’t Breed
Breeding guinea pigs can quickly get out of control if you don’t know what you’re doing. Statistically, the world does not need more guinea pigs. Rescue shelters often have to terminate large numbers of them, because these pets are abandoned or dumped. Do not think for a minute you can palm off your pigs to the local pet store, as they won’t take them. If people did want guinea pigs they’d have them already, so don’t presume that your friends will want one either.
The responsible thing to do, if you’re going to keep guinea pigs, is to separate off the boars and the sows so they can’t breed at all. This is because there are risks involved with neutering guinea pigs. After eight months of age it is extremely dangerous for a sow to get pregnant if she hasn’t had a litter before, because her once flexible pubic bones become fused together. She runs a huge risk of dying due to not being able to deliver her pups.
A boar can get his mother pregnant at three weeks of age. You will need an adequate amount of cages to separate off the sows and the boars and also the adolescents may fight.
Guinea pig breeding is probably something to be interested if you have young children. They are friendly creatures and like to cuddle. As long as you don’t get out of control with their reproduction, and are sensible about the amount of animals you bring into the world, you should have a fun pastime.